Experience recruits MSK1 to expand the dynamic range of synapses and enhance cognition

More, Lorenzo orcid iconORCID: 0000-0003-1156-2861 (2020) Experience recruits MSK1 to expand the dynamic range of synapses and enhance cognition. The Journal of Neuroscience, 40 (24). pp. 4644-4660. ISSN 0270-6474

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Official URL: https://doi.org/10.1523/JNEUROSCI.2765-19.2020


Experience powerfully influences neuronal function and cognitive performance, but the cellular and molecular events underlying the experience-dependent enhancement of mental ability haveremained elusive. In particular, the mechanisms that couple the external environment to the genomic changes underpinning this improvement are unknown. To address this we have used male mice harbouring an inactivating mutation of mitogen- and stress-activated protein kinase 1 (MSK1), a BDNF-activated enzyme downstream of the MAPK pathway. We show that MSK1 is required for the full extent of experience-induced improvement of spatial memory, for the expansion of the dynamic range of synapses, exemplified by the enhancement of hippocampal LTP and LTD, and for the regulation of the majority of genes influenced by enrichment. In addition, and unexpectedly, we show that experience is associated with an MSK1-dependent downregulation of key MAPK and plasticity
related genes, notably of EGR1/Zif268 and Arc/Arg3.1, suggesting the establishment of a novel genomic landscape adapted to experience. By coupling experience to homeostatic changes in gene expression MSK1, represents a prime mechanism through which the external environment has an enduring influence on gene expression, synaptic function and cognition.

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